“Had I discovered Dr Amit Kumar earlier, I would have certainly approached him. It is a choice between life and death, so the answer is obvious. I would choose life, even if it meant opting for an illegal channel,” says 62-year-old Anoop Singh.
Singh has been waiting for a kidney donor for the last one year and his words voice his sheer desperation. Singh’s blood group, A+, does not match with wife, Charanjeev who is B+. He does not want to take the kidney from any of his children Angad, 19 and Piya, 23. “They are young. I can’t even think of taking their kidneys,” he says.
His 65-year-old sister offered to donate her kidney and arrived from the United States two months ago to undergo compatibility tests. “But she wasn’t fit to donate the organ. Although her group matched, her age and related problems didn’t support the donation,” says Dr Dinesh Khullar, nephrologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital.
Another sister, who is also above 60 years, has offered to donate her kidney. “All our hopes are pinned on her, but then again we know her age is a roadblock,” says Charanjeev. “This is our family. Where do we go looking for a donor?” she adds.
The limitations associated with kidney transplant — blood type, age, medical issues and legalities — are too much for the patients to bear.
Singh has to spend four hours twice a week on dialysis. “Imagine the agony I go through. I have to earn for my family as well as my treatment, which is so expensive,” says Singh. While every haemodialysis treatment costs 15,000, he has to take injections worth Rs. 500 every third day.
“A one-time cost for a kidney is any day preferable to the every week torture that my husband goes through. It is hard on the mind as well as on the pocket,” says Charanjeev. The thought of feeding her husband tasteless meals also pains her. “He is only allowed sweet gourd and tinda. No pulses, no green vegetables, no meat, and no fruit, my heart bleeds to give him food he doesn’t like. We often end up fighting at the dining table,” she says.
“The government should legalise paid kidney donation. There should be a centralised database where one could list his name if he wanted to donate the kidney. Accordingly, the government should have a decent compensation for the donor as well as life-time benefits,” feels Singh.